This post is a fortnight late in its arrival.

But the Institute of Menezes Braganza Panaji, has begun a new endeavour on literature.

Mimasa – is to analyze, scrutinize, assimilate which was what this platform is all about, understanding ,sharing and growing.

The decision is to meet once in a fortnight to discuss a book or an author.

It was quite interesting to see almost 50- 60 people assemble on a Sunday afternoon to discuss an Hindi author.

DSCN8064The book on discussion was Khara-paani written by Jayashri Rai-Harmalkar who is a Goa based author in Hindi. The book works around the bewildered Ethnic Goan society with the change in the socio-economic dynamics. I cannot share more than this since I have not read the book.

Maybe we can begin to let the country know that the Goa is more than beach, and booze, it is where the changing zones and cultures are recorded. The fabric is tapestry of Konkani, Portuguese, Marathi, English and Hindi.


An Asokan Quest.

the mahabharat secretThe Mahabharata Secret.

ISBN                      978-93-83202-31-7

Publishers           Om Books International.

The book   The Mahabharata secret is a fiction. Set in contemporary thriller format

Occult-lore talks of brethren of nine secret men created by the great Mauryan emperor Asoka. They were the keepers of the knowledge that could destroy mankind. The lore’s have it eminent scientists like Jagadishchandra Bose and Vikram Sarabhai were part of the nine. Reminds one of the

The story opens with a prologue in the Mauryan period the emperor and his lieutenant protect the dark secret of Mahabharata.

The story then moves to contemporary period, and the treasure hunt for the hidden begins with the death of Vikram Singh the last of the nine. The events of unrevealing this quest are spread over 12 days begins at a royal residence in Jaungarh if it is related to the junagarh was founded in by the Mauryans and is rich in Buddhist heritage artefacts.  A nuclear scientist is killed, his last message to his nephew, forces the nephew on a quest to discover the secret guarded by nine.

The story travels a geographic terrain from the Bamiyan Buddha’s to Barbar caves in Bihar. From 244 BC to current day in time. A conspiracy theory involves a Rajput king turned politician, Bheem Singh, an American Vice President, a European power gatherer, a Taliban scientist on one end and the Intelligence Bureau on the other, both nudging and manipulating the protagonist Vijay Singh, and his companions through the quest.

The quest in itself is like a very childish treasure hunt which most of us can see through. He presents potential suspects pretty well. The uses Mauryan history and archaeology extensively. Though I am skeptic  Mauryan edifice in Kharoshthi which is a later Magahi dialect unlike the Magahi used during the Mauryan times.

The occult lore has it that there is a mountain that bestows knowledge if one meditated on it, the author explains it by placing  subaltern library there.  The concept of sathya and Mithya from the Bhagawat Gita where there is illusion, and truth and most people who cannot see beyond the inscribed words stay ignorant of the knowledge that it imparts or even the information that the inscription hands.

Over all a fairly good book, not unputdownable yet fairly interesting. It would entice an inquisitive reader to set on a less traversed journey of Indian history and Indian sacred lore. Like priory Sion, and illuminati keepers of knowledge in other traditions. The forgotten trail of Asokan edicts are well mapped.

About The Author:          http://www.christophercdoyle.com

Mother Goose.

mother gooseTo me 1st of May is one of the greatest days, it introduced me to my surrogate mother, who nurtured me into a wonderful world.

1971 my mother returned from England after a years stay. To be honest it did not mean really very much expect that I did not have to play mother surrogate to my brother. She had brought couple of clothes, and I think toys they were fine, but the best thing she brought was a gift from her Landlady.

The landlady’s kids had out grown their books, so she gave amma the whole lot of them. The golden Nightingale, a book on cars for my brother, Cinderella,  my own favorite ones were my first English dictionary, Here’s London and ‘mother goose’ who killed jack Robbins, London bridge is falling down, so many more. I must have read and re-read them until the pages came apart.

As we grew into preteen and went to Manipal Junior College it was the advent of Mr..Bhaskar Rao, with all disdain he told us, that mother goose poems were not in the least bit of kids level.  If one listened to him the poems entrapped deep racial and political implications. Of course at that age we all were revolutionaries and we shook the roots of the establishment, so we sprouted whatever Mr.Rao told us that are…

Goosy-goosy ganderà spoke of a romance between, the queen and Lord Oliver Cromwell,

Ring a ring a roses à about the great plague or London fire… I do not recollect very much.

London bridge  à about the weak bridge that kept collapsing and that my fair lady referred to the mistresses of the sailors and workmen, or the women who solicited the workmen and sailors. Now we didn’t really know what the word soliciting meant, but we did share this ideology freely and loudly … I guess you can visualize its impact on our image.

Pea’s porridge that talked lot of sense.  Each poem he came up with a dark underlying message that fascinated the teenage imagination.

As one grows older one discovers that its white and black, it grey, there are interpretations and context. But who was mother goose, my book had the cover of a plump women, on a gander, with appointed chin and beak nosed, her eyes sparkling and a smile on her lip quite in contrast to the sour “Mother Hubbard” or the “harried old woman of the shoe” though the American press would like us to believe that it is a woman called Elizabeth vergoose,.  John Newbery was inspired by Charles Perrault’s collection of fairy tales called Contes De Ma Mere I Oye . the original title being Mother Goose Melodies, Or Sonnet Of The Cradle.

The book was first published in 1760 and has sold 3,600,000 copies of hardcover to the day. Illustrations meta morphing with each generation of illustrator. Mother goose, must have opened the imagination of generations of kids.

Here’s to the nanny who put countless kids to sleep with her Wee Willie Winkie.

The Forgotten Treasures of India.

treasure of kafurThe treasure of Kafur.

Title:                      The Treasure of Kafur

Author:                                Aroon Raman,

Publisher             Panmacmillan.co.in

ISBN 978-9-382-61612-2


Most Indian Historic novels are rooted in the Mogul history. At the most they stories from the Rajput kitty. Other kingdoms and their stories are forgotten.

The kings, their Hindu subjects, are acknowledged the Jains and Buddhists forming other communities of the secular pre-raj India remain vastly forgotten. Knowingly or unknowingly Aroon Raman has evoked the memory of a forgotten secular pre-mogul, pre-British India. Where Buddhism and Jainism were religions to reckon with and not mere appendages of Hinduism. The protagonist is deeply inspired by the Buddha.

Here is a writer that acknowledges that there were kingdoms south of Vindhya’s that were rich, vibrant and looted by kings before the Moguls.

The story opens with a prologue of Malik Kafur looting the south hiding the cache for a future date in the forest of Jetavana; this is observed by a Tortoise.

The current story is the story of Datta, the last keeper of the secret of the treasure of Malik Kafur, who learns this from his grandmother Ambu. The wealth is coveted by Baig, for it would fund his army against Akbar.


The author claims this is a piece of fiction supported by research for the characters, which is pretty evident  in Mann Singh the Rajput  vassal of Akbar, Rana Pratap, Inayat Khan, his son Dilawar  the Taarak Tantric, all from the Mogul period. The author Aroon has set the story against the back drop of Asif Baig trying to wrench the Kingdom from Akbar.

The hero Datta has empathy with birds and can communicate with them as he can with the animals, he is the child of nature. This is presented in such a matter of fact way, it is refreshing. His friendship with the Dilawar the son of Inayat Khan and the Princess of Amber very beautifully brought out.


Sheherzade the exotic bird guide gifted by the Sufi saint Aulia. Emperor Akbar is here is a listener, wise, street smart, adventure seeker and risk taker.


The book is well written fast paced clean language with just the required amount of  spice without being a boring gossiping narrative.  A definite skill that I would like to acknowledge in Aroon, which I have experienced in very few contemporary writers is, his ability to ensure that the visual created is on par with the era that they are talking about. This is that  something that takes him out of the platform of mundane to the cadre of Indu Sundaresan, Anand Neelakantan, Krishna Udayshankar, and Ashwin Sanghi. Please note that Amish Tripati is not included in this elite.


Definitely enjoyed book and looking forward to more from this author.


About the author:Aroon Raman is a Bengaluru based author, his research and innovation company works in material science he has won critical acclaim for developing scientific talent in the grass root level. To know more please  visit http://www.aroonraman.com

Seein’ is creatin’.

Shakti Gawain, the Guru of Creative Visualization.
Shakti Gawain, the Guru of Creative Visualization.

Creative visualization – use the power of your imagination to create what you want in your life.

Author: Shakti  Gawain.

Publisher:        Nataraja Publication a division of New world Library.

ISBN:  978-1-57731-229-1

The book takes holds the hand of the reader to guide them into a world of exploration, and understanding the tuning to the universe. There are exercises in book, that helps us face the disconnect within us, and connect to the greater universe.

To a person who has attended the creative visualization it is like a ready reckoner to Shakti’s philosophy and thought process.

For those on a journey of self understanding, healing and connecting to the universe it is an excellent guide.


If you are into actually practising this as mode of self-healing then this book should ideally be followed by the creative vision workbooks.

Thank You Asma D’souza. www.personally.in  for this book, it is a precious gift.

A dilemma of choosing between a Glorious Past and Grave future

The Book Club at the Book store.
The Book Club at the Book store.

A book shop,

Broadway book house where we book-worms come out on the third Thursday of every month, to share our crumbs.

Sometimes we get to meet the cook, here was one such occasion.

Authors, readers interact
Authors, readers interact


Here was an interaction with author Mr.Raghuraman Trichur whose book Redefining Goa was published by Goa 1556. I have not read the book, but the topic did sound interesting.

But what did come across to me during the entire interaction were the potential areas where we need to look at culture. More interestingly the unique identity of Goa, well coming to think of it, until 1961 Goa was pretty uninvolved with rest of India, since rest of India had a common master in the Brits, there is a semblance of commonality and a pretence of cultural unity. Mr.Trichur claims to have worked on a skeleton on the Goan society based on the path of Merchant capital history through which he could further look at various anthropological journey.

awaiting the author
awaiting the author

But as the conversation went to Mundkar- Bhatkar issue, I found that the issues that coastal Karnataka is grappling with are identical.  The absence of the peasantry and the peasant history, again as advocate Albertina Almeida pointed would not be found in the annals of academician but would be in alternate documentation which are not really acceptable to the academic elite.

This entire dialogues that have been happening with Dr.Romilla Thapar, or Mr.Trichur, or Dr.Gadgil there is a subcutaneous thought that nationalism as it was and is perceived is colonialism in its own self. This according to Mr.Trichur includes the tourism for, with the advent of tourists, the peasantry directly engaged with the tourist, which translated to direct income that was free of the landlord.DSCN8018

When we talk of social issues they are all interrelated, be it the right of a family to live in their hereditary plots, women’s issue, and the issue of non-goan takeover of the beach belt. These are multilayered interwoven issues. Well it did sound very interesting

There were participants who could actually point lacunae’s the disconnect, the un-addressed issues of Goa. That was heartening I could hear the potential for three more books. :)

goa1556The most elegant aspect …yes elegant of the evening  was Jason Keith, very apt, kept the flow managed the interruptions without being offensive, aggressive or condescending.

Maybe I shall borrow the book and read it.

A sparkle missing.

mountain of lightThe Mountain of Light.

Author:               Indu Sundaresan

Publisher:            Harper Collins India.

ISBN:                       978-93-5116-091-5

Genre:                  Historic fiction.

The Kohinoor,  the mountain of light as the Shah of Persia named is believed to  have been given by the Lord Krishna to devotee, from there it’s physical mention is in the memoirs of the Mogul king Babur.  It has then traversed in out of India to its final resting place in the crown of England.

The story opens in the court of Maharaja Ranjith Singh of the Punjab Empire who exacts the Kohinoor from Shah Shuja of Afghanistan for help him regain his kingdom.

Indu presents the book as a pensive of Prince Dalip Singh the son of Maharaja Ranjith Singh. Taking through the gardens of Lahore,  accession of Punjab, the boy king’s travel to London, his conversion, queen Victoria’s venture to get him married to her other protégée, Victoria Gowramma of coorg. The English attitude, of Dalip Singh being a person to be feted and petted yet unworthy to marry the ward of impoverished missionary couple who are his guardians.

What I like about Indu’s style of writing be it the Taj Trilogy or the Splendour of Silence is vibrancy, she is able to create an imagery and actually give us a voyeuristic view, she is so present in her writing through the language, life and vibrancy without being judgemental.

harpar collinsBut in the novel the mountain of light Indu is conspicuous by her absence the book ambles along like a rickety old man … factually and as a social structure she is able to sort of recreate the raj, but Indu for the first time disappointed me.

Of course there are tremendous insights into history.

about the author:  http://indusundaresan.com/Bio.aspx

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